Dee Wilkinson - Success Stories

I had a very difficult childhood. Both parents married 4 -5 times, step mum committed suicide and step-father tried. Dad was an alcoholic and then diagnosed with a brain tumour. Various assortments of abuse. I left home at 13 to live in a caravan with my brother (who was 14). After [...]

I had a very difficult childhood. Both parents married 4 -5 times, step mum committed suicide and step-father tried. Dad was an alcoholic and then diagnosed with a brain tumour. Various assortments of abuse. I left home at 13 to live in a caravan with my brother (who was 14). After experiencing his habits for a year, I decided they left a lot to be desired so forged ahead and got my own caravan on farmland at 14.

I kept up with school and quickly learnt to forge my own notes if sick etc. My biggest worry was someone finding out and me being taken into care.
I passed the exams I liked but didn’t have the opportunity to continue in further education for two reasons. One was I thought I was too thick to be able to, and two I needed money to live. Working weekends and holidays at a local outdoor pursuits centre taking rides out on ponies, covered bare essentials alongside food parcels from my grandparents.

At one point in my life I clearly remember sitting in my caravan by myself at the little cold melamine fold out kitchen table. I had no job, no savings, no transport and the only money I possessed being a £10.00 note laid out in front of me. I smoothed the note out before me and said to myself in a very upbeat way “Ok, how far are we going to get?”

Not knowing my vocation in life drove me mad. I tried everything I could in the hope I would be good at something one day and be able to live life on my terms. I never gave up the thought that I would find it. I had many limiting beliefs of being ‘thick’ and not ‘academic’, ‘ugly’ and ‘stupid’. I always felt slightly inferior to other people.

I joined the NHS when I was 22 and bought my first house. A wreck of a repossession with no bathroom or kitchen and miles away from my beloved Dartmoor and comfort zone. My first mortgage and experience of paying proper bills was stressful.

Slowly I came up the ranks. After 16 years of marriage, 8 of which were domestically violent, losing a baby, getting my son through cancer, building my own home and losing it, along with all I had created. Being dropped into manage a hospital with no real management experience, divorce, and other experiences, I was left feeling pretty low – I then found coaching.

Trumpets played, lights shone, birds sang, I danced, as instantly I knew I had found my role and purpose in life and the thing I was most passionate about. I knew from that moment on that my life would change immeasurably and I finally had the correct tools that I had inadvertently been using to some degree, all my life.

I did two Diplomas and took the Personal Performance Coaching with The Coaching Academy. I was on a run. Having originally trained to get myself out of the NHS I was beginning to realise just how much it needed it, so started the training to become a Corporate & Executive coach which I had to self fund as couldn’t wait.

I wrote a proposal to get Coaching embedded as part of the NHS I worked in. It wasn’t granted.

I didn’t give up and forged ahead and gained permission to coach colleagues and peers alongside my substantive post. I then collected excellent feedback. I resubmitted the proposal and took it to Human Resources. For 18 months I kept trying to get its value recognised whilst we were going through a massive reorganisation and merger.  I stuck my neck on the line and turned down a guaranteed job through the reorganisation because I knew I wasn’t being true to myself (even though I was a single parent with two young boys and had a mortgage 4 times my earnings). I arranged meetings with the Chief Exec and talked of my vision.

At the end of July my dream was realised. My proposal was taken in as part of the Learning and Development Team and worked into Organisational Development strategies. I have secured a role as Corporate Coach Lead for the whole of the organisation and effectively created my own job and written my own job description.

The main part of my job is offering individual coaching support to managers and Team Leaders in the NHS across a whole county.

I take the lead on the continual development of Coaching and make sure it will be incorporated into service delivery and design. I am responsible for building relationships with partner organisations and have written joint protocols to make sure the quality of coaching is maintained and networks can be created aligning a seamless coaching approach throughout.

This is in addition to running Effective Team coaching development days,  and workshops for Managers on Coaching Skills and Performing Under Pressure. I am currently compiling a book of themes and coaching skills to back up the workshops, called ‘How to Survive the NHS’.

Recently I have requested a National Forum for managers in the NHS to share information and coaching advice to support themselves along with hopefully empowering individuals to change the culture towards a coaching environment.

Privately I am being asked to run workshops and coach individually.

I am in heaven!

My future medium term direction is a continual focus on the Leadership elements of Corporate Coaching and establishing this as my area of expertise. My longer term direction is talking to larger and larger audiences, delivering the powerful message behind coaching and being committed to being the catalyst to changing the culture of the NHS nationally. Ultimately creating a better and more valuing environment for the staff and therefore better patient care.

I now live in a beautiful detached house in the middle of Dartmoor.  I have a fantastic relationship with a wonderful man. My children are blossoming and I’m driving around in my dream Porsche 911 4s (paid for – not by the NHS but the law of attraction!!).

Material things aren’t important but clearly when you are living in alignment with who you are and taking action in line with your purpose, the rest just falls into place.

Thank you to The Coaching Academy. I am seriously looking forward to my future x

Dee Wilkinson



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